WPCC Refutes "Unfounded Allegations"

Board accuses electoral candidate of 'misleading claims'

Putney Common - Andrew Wilson@andrewpics

The Board of the WPCC has refuted claims by a standing candidate for the triennial election later this month, stating that the claims are misleading and lacking in evidence.

The current Chair, Prue Whyte (who is not standing for re-election) has written to the candidate on 29 January,in which she says,"You are entitled to your own views and opinions, but these should be stated as such; not presented as fact."

The candidate is also accused of 'defamatory remarks' about the Chief Executive, Simon Lee, in a recent document, which the board also refute.

In response Friends of Putney Common state that 'some "clarification" is needed as they believe the WPCC statement above is misleading.

A spokesperson for FofPC told this website: "The release advises that the WPCC Board believes that certain statements appearing in the election flyer of John Cameron, a candidate standing in the current election, are misleading and lacking in evidence. The Chairman wrote to Mr Cameron regarding this and published a redacted copy of her letter dated 29 January 2018. The full un-redacted letter, in a spirit of complete transparency, can be viewed using this link: http://bit.ly/2Epk0JD. Setting aside whether it is appropriate for the Chairman of a public body to attack a candidate so publicly in the middle of an election for new trustees, the WPCC’s ‘media statement’ and accompanying letter begs questions which the Chairman needs to answer:

  • When did the Board formally discuss the offending flyer and vote to issue a press release in response to it? The WPCC press release was issued prior to the board meeting which the Friends of Putney Common understand was held by the WPCC on 12 February 2018.
  • There is clearly a difference of opinion between the Chairman and at least one of the candidates. It would seem that this difference occurred as a result of both parties using extracted quotes from the Charity Commission’s ‘Statement of Reasons’ behind its decision to launch a Statutory Inquiry and then the subsequent appointment of an Interim Manager. For the benefit of all, will the WPCC release a copy of the CC’s Statement of Reasons for both interventions and add them to their website? Why have they not already done so?
  • The Charity Commission has advised that they have NO objection to the Statement of Reasons being published. The candidate targeted by the Chairman also has no objection to it being published. The WPCC are the only party withholding the Statement of Reasons. Why?
  • At the Putney Hustings the WPCC Chairman advised another election candidate that the WPCC Board was discussing this matter with a view to releasing the Statement of Reasons. Why then, two weeks on, has this not been dealt with by the Board?
  • Release of the Statement of Reasons will allow levy-payers and thus voters to make an informed decision on the statements made by the candidate in his flyer.
  • The WPCC continue to give the impression that the launch of a Statutory Inquiry and appointment of an Interim Manager is not a particularly serious matter. It is. Only yesterday (12 February 2018) the Charity Commission launched a Statutory Inquiry into Oxfam and news outlets made it clear how rare it is for the Charity Commission to have to take such serious action. Notably, the Deputy Chief Executive of that charity immediately resigned, unlike the Chairman or others at the WPCC.
  • Attacking the candidate in question is an attack on a whistle-blower. Does the WPCC and the Wimbledon election candidates view the Oxfam whistle-blowers as disruptors too? Why has the WPCC’s Returning Officer Mike Rappolt (a non-elected Trustee) not stepped in to halt this interference in the election process?"

February 13, 2018